Turkey is a mecca for shopaholics with its rich avenues filled with historical bazaars and souks interspersed with new-age markets. Turkey is one of the best places for shopping, as it boasts of open-air markets, chic boutiques and covered Turkish bazaars. Discover the stunning maze of stalls that cover Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar; spend some free time browsing and exploring the stalls selling exotic spices, fresh foods and vegetables – shopping in Istanbul is an absolute delight. If you are a shopaholic, and are looking for national and international brands; then clothes shopping in Turkey is one thing you should not miss out on.
Whether your passion is fashion, shoes, accessories, home-ware or local items, Turkey boasts of a huge collection of shops selling these. Stroll along the streets to discover antiques, designer boutiques and local crafts or come across street sellers that wander from corner to corner. Here are the best places to shop in Turkey.
1. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
Get ready to get lost in one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world situated in the heart of the old city of Istanbul – the Grand Bazaar. When it comes to shopping in Istanbul, this one cannot be missed! This sprawling, colourful and chaotic bazaar includes 60 streets covered by 5,000 shops, that attract 200,000 to 400,000 tourists’ every day. A heaven for shoppers interested in traditional shops and goods, these open streets also have several cafes and restaurants to try out the local Turkish cuisine. If you’re looking for bargains, this is also where you can do some cheap shopping in Istanbul. Turkey shopping can’t get better than this!
A flea market is held on every Sunday in Istanbul near the Grand Bazaar, and Horhor Market in Aksaray on weekends.
What to buy in Grand Bazaar: Carpets, jewellery, embroideries, hand-painted ceramics, spices and antiques – most of them are treasured souvenirs.
Getting there: You can take a tram to Sirkeci, Universite or Beyazit. The Grand Bazaar is at a walking distance from the Aya Sofya/Blue Mosque area.
Opening hours: 8:30am to 7:00pm (Mon-Sat), Sunday closed
2. Egyptian Spice Bazaar, Istanbul
The Egyptian Spice Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the best places for shopping in Turkey. It offers an enticing array of jams, dry fruits, exotic spices, coffee, tea, nuts, and of course multitude of flavours. Name just about any exotic spice, are chances are you will get it here! Don’t forget to take some spices back home!
3. Istanbul Handicrafts Centre
The Istanbul Handicrafts Centre is another great place to buy souvenirs in Turkey. From famous ceramics to designer handicrafts, calligraphy and miniatures, you will get everything here. Turkey also offers many vibrant outdoor markets, selling variety of fresh food and produce, antiques and clothes.
4. Kemeraltı, Izmir
A historical market of Izmir, Kemeraltı, has been there since the 17th century. It’s the most lively shopping centre of Izmir. You’ll get some of the best Turkish handicrafts here. Carpets and rugs, plain-woven mats; wood, metal and ceramics, the best Turkish handicrafts are available here. Post shopping, sit in one of the coffee and tea cafes and enjoy some Turkish refreshments.
5. Serdar-ı Ekrem, Istanbul
One of the coolest streets for shopping in Istanbul. Located near the iconic Galata Tower, this cobbled-stoned street is famous for its funky, quirky boutiques. You can spend hours and hours shopping at the plethora of jewellery stores, designer boutiques, and vintage shops here.
Opening hours: 11am-8pm (Mon-Sat) and 11am-6pm (Sun)
6. Ulus, Ankara
When in Turkey, make sure to visit the beautifully adorned bazaars of Ankara. Most of the markets are located in Ulus selling handicrafts, traditional linen window dressings, and wicker baskets. The long cobbled-streets are a delight to stroll down, picking up handmade soaps and olive oils on your way; they make good souvenirs as well.
7. Shopping Malls in Turkey
Cevahir Mall in Istanbul: Also known as Istanbul Cevahir Shopping and Entertainment Centre, it is not only the biggest shopping mall in Istanbul but also the biggest shopping mall in Europe. It is also the 6th biggest shopping mall in the world. Designed in traditional Arabic style, with palm trees inside; the mall is also home to cinemas, delicious food and entertainment.
ANKA Mall in Ankara: This is the second largest shopping mall in Turkey after Cevahir Mall in İstanbul. ANKA Mall hosts over 320 different brands including locally and internationally famous ones and it also offers a movie theatre with 10 halls and kids zone. It’s an amazing place in Turkey to take your kids!
Mall of Istanbul: Mall of Istanbul is one of the biggest malls of Turkey and hosts the leading brands in the world attracting hordes of tourists every year. Because of the variety and the extensive numbers f stores it offers, the mall is amongst the most popular one in the country. Come here for some of the best shopping in Turkey.
Terra City in Antalya: Terra City is the most luxurious shopping centre located in Lara, which is the most prestigious area of Antalya city. With its 150 stores and 30 restaurants and cafes, it brings a new style of shopping concept. The shops are mainly high-end designer brands including the likes of Burberry, Hugo Boss, Façonnable, Gizia and more.
Agora Avm in Izmir: Izmir is an innovative and dynamic name of fashion and entertainment. From clothing, accessories, household textiles, cosmetics, to the number of restaurants offering international cuisines, it has become the largest shopping centre in Izmir.
Must buys in Turkey
Iznik Ceramics – Intricately hand-painted ceramics are a must buy in Turkey. Made in Iznik, these beautiful red and cobalt blue tiles adorn the walls of palaces and mosques of Turkey. Grand Bazaar is the best place to shop for these lovely pieces.
Turkish Towels – Turkey is famous for its Peshtemal or Turkish towels! Hand-woven and made with 100 percent Turkish cotton, they are extremely absorbent and thinner than regular towels, making then travel-friendly.
Meerschaum – Known as ‘sea foam’, Meerschaum is an ivory-like substance that is used to make pipes and pipe bowls carved out of them. One can also find jewellery and souvenirs made out of Meerschaum; another must buy in Turkey.
Shopping tip: Bargaining is sometimes a part of the shopping experience in Turkey, one needs to be an expert at this art. Do it right, and it can be a profitable, pleasant and a social experience!